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What should System Managers prefer? Systems that never fail or systems that remain safe during a failure? The present paper tries to give an answer to this dilemma by presenting a methodology that hierarchically analyses the possible preventive maintenance actions in a water system. The whole attempt is based on appropriate indices that assess the performance level of the system, before any action is taken. This is accomplished through a technico-economical analysis that takes into account all kinds of costs referring to the repair or replacement of trouble-causing parts of the system. The methodology can be implemented to any kind of system (e.g. waterworks infrastructure concerning surface or groundwater resources). The present paper deals with a water supply network in order to present the suggested methodology.